A trip to Toronto usually means tons of concrete buildings as your view, but if you go just a little way from the downtown sector, you'll find the Scarborough Bluffs, which make it feel like you left Canada and ended up in the Caribbean.
The Scarborough Bluffs stretch along 15 kilometres of Lake Ontario and you can admire the azure-coloured waters from so many different spots.
You can find 11 parks near the Scarborough Bluffs, so there are tons of spots to explore and immerse yourself in nature right outside the city.
If you're hoping to spend your day in the sand, you can make your way to Bluffer's Beach.
Bluffer's Beach was specifically designed to give people access to the Scarborough Bluffs. The beach has picnic areas, lookouts, a boat launch and a park next to it with different trails to walk along.
The only other park that has a trail leading to the waterfront is East Point Park. To get to it, Toronto's official website says to "start at the end of Beechgrove and Copperfield Road."
And if ever you or any of your friends have a boat, you can always explore while on the water!
Bluffer's Park and Beach
Address: 1 Brimley Road S., Scarborough, ON
Distance From Montreal: Approximately a six-hour drive
Why You Need To Go: To admire 15 kilometres of beauty.
Having locked in plans with his friends to help with the proposal on July 2 and without expecting the Canadiens to still be in the playoffs, McCooeye planned to decorate a beach near the Pointe-Claire windmill with thousands of LED lights and pop the question.
But the Canadiens' playoff winning streak proved inconvenient to his plan because much like the rest of the city, the couple were gripped with Habs fever.
"My proposal plan was virtually out the window at this point, and I really considered changing the date and plan entirely," said McCooeye.
"I was scrambling and freaking out, trying to think of a way to watch the game and also pull off my proposal on the originally intended date and time."
So, he thought, "what if I convinced her that there was a projected broadcast of the game at the Pointe-Claire windmill, which was right beside the spot of beach where I was going to propose?"
In order for his plan to work, McCooeye first had to photoshop an Instagram post that claimed that the windmill was hosting a screening of a Stanley Cup Final game.
"If she was to see MTL Blog saying that there was a game being broadcast at the Pointe-Claire windmill, that would probably convince her," he said.
"Come Friday, the plan was in motion."
McCooeye enlisted their group of friends and even a waiter at a bar for the adorably elaborate ruse. In the end, he pulled it off masterfully.
"We walked towards the windmill, and on our way, we arrived at the entrance to the hidden beach where I was going to propose," he said.
"At that point, she said something to the effect of 'pretty cool that MTL Blog posted about this.' I [...] responded 'oh, you mean that MTL Blog post that you knew was fake and you scrolled through your Instagram to check? Because you might have been right about that.'"
Why You Need To Go: For the rest of the summer, seven spaces recreating colourful urban gardens are scattered along avenue Mont Royal. There's a colourful skate park, a light and shadow garden, a rose mural, and other funky spots to check out.
Why You Need To Go: If you've been craving something greasy, you'll be happy to know that you can get a free burger for a limited time at Burger King. All you have to do is download the restaurant's app and place an order over $1 to get a free Whopper.
When: Every day until September 6 from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Address: Place des Commencements; 200, rue de la Commune O., Montréal, QC
Why You Need To Go: You can find Place des Commencements located at the end of the Grand Quai in Old Montreal, which has the most beautiful green terrasse where you can sit on chairs and admire Habitat 67 and the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. It's an ideal spot to watch the sunset.
Address: La Brise du Large; 1800, Chemin des Iroquois, Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: This is the new waterfront park on the Lachine Canal, La Brise du Large, that you have to check out this summer if you want to sit in the shade for a picnic or feel like you're in the South.
Why You Need To Go: A trip to the museum is always a good idea — especially when it's free. Note that the Christian Dior et Chapleau – Profession : caricaturiste exposition will cost you $9.50 on Wednesday evenings, but the rest of the museum is free to visit after 5 p.m.
Swing By This Sandy Beach In The Middle Of Downtown
Where: Saint James United Church, 463, rue Sainte-Catherine O., Montreal, QC
When: June 4 to September 26, 2021
Why You Need To Go: Yes, you read that right — just outside Saint James United Church is the coolest sandy beach hangout, where you can even bring booze. It's the most relaxing place to chill in the middle of the downtown core.
This particular oasis is described as a "vacation in the sun, right in the downtown core" with "comfortable furniture, shade, a seaside soundscape, and that one-of-a-kind feeling of hot sand underfoot."
Alcohol is allowed, as long as you consume it with food so you can BYOB if you really want to set the mood of being on holiday.
Sitting on a lounge chair with your toes in the sand as you sip on a cocktail under the sun, it's hard to believe this is really Sainte-Catherine.
At the very least, it's the perfect place to relax after a long day of shopping.
A Beach In The Middle Of Downtown MTL
When: June 4 to September 26, 2021
Address: Saint James United Church — 463, rue Sainte-Catherine O., Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: Instantly escape the hustle-and-bustle of downtown, swapping it for beach holiday feels.